Train Like a Canuck, Eat Like a Canuck

Cristina Sutter talks about Recovery Nutrition at Canucks Development Camp

Here is a behind the scenes sneak peak of the Vancouver Canucks development camp where I talk to players about what to eat after training.

City's Breakfast Television: What Do Olympic Athletes Eat?

Cristina Sutter is on City's Breakfast Television: Eat Like an Olympian!

What and how much does an Olympian eat?  In this morning's City Breakfast Television show, I show what a plate for an Olympian would look like, explain why it is different for each sport and what we can apply to our own eating habits.  Click here to watch the video.

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Vancouver Sun Article: What to Eat Before the Big Race

SUN RUN TRAINING WEEK 13: What to Eat and What Not to Eat, Before the Sun Run

In today's Vancouver Sun article, I talk about what to eat and what not to eat the day and morning before the Sun Run. With just 6 days left before the big race, check these eating tips and best food choices to help you feel and run your best on the big day.  Here is an excerpt:

"...You may recall from week 9 to stay away from anything loaded with fat or fibre on the day before a run. That means no fettuccine alfredo, muffins, big salads or fries on Saturday. Keep hydrated by sipping on two to three litres of water throughout the day and stay away from alcohol on both Friday and Saturday.

Here is a sample meal plan for a middle-aged female for the day before the race. If you are young, active or male, you will need to add an extra chicken wrap and fruit smoothie to this meal plan.

Saturday sample meal plan:

7 am:   2 eggs, whole wheat tortilla, salsa
10 am: 1 fruit, 10 almonds
12 pm: Tuna sandwich with baby carrots
3 pm:   1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 cup fruit
6 pm:   1 cup brown rice, 1 chicken breast, steamed vegetables
9 pm:   Sprouted grain toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

On Sunday morning,..." Click here to read the full article...


Vancouver Sun Article: Overcoming Emotional Eating

SUN RUN TRAINING WEEK 12: Reviewing our Relationship with Food

emotional eatingtOvercoming emotional eating is the topic of my article in today's Vancouver Sun paper Here is an excerpt:

"As I watched my children enjoy their Easter chocolates with delight and guilt-free bliss, I reflected that we are all born knowing when we are hungry, when we are full and we ate until we were satisfied. As we grew up, we were told to eat our vegetables because they help us grow and not to eat cookies because they are bad for us. We may have been offered ice cream to cheer us up on a sad day. Our parents may have asked us to finish our plate, so as not to waste food. If we felt pressure to be thinner, we may have felt guilty eating our favorite treats.

All of these things distort our relationship with food and cloud our innate ability to eat until satisfied. Eventually, we may eat because we are supposed to, or we may overeat to please someone or to cope with loneliness or stress. We start to think of food as ‘good for you’ and ‘bad for you’ and we may feel guilty about enjoying our favorite foods. If we deprive ourselves of our favorite treats, we may feel overwhelmed with guilt when our willpower cracks.

Ask yourself a few questions before deciding whether to eat: 
- Am I Hungry?
- Do I want that? 
- Am I sad or upset and do I really just need to talk and de-stress? How will I feel after I eat it?

The answers are simple: 
- Eat if you are hungry, stop if you are full. 
- If you are craving a specific treat, check your emotions first. 
- Look after your stress and emotions without food.

If your craving persists, allow yourself to enjoy a treat, and don’t feel guilty. You are better off eating the treat or you may end up overeating a pile of other foods that just don’t satisfy the craving."

Vancouver Sun Article: Is Dairy Good or Bad?

Sun Run Training Week 11: Clarifying the Benefits of Dairy

milkDairy has got a pretty bad rap lately.  There is a lot of controversy about whether we should be consuming dairy products. Admittedly, dairy isn't for everyone and it may exasperate certain conditions in some dairy sensitive people who suffer from migraines, tonsilloliths, constipation, eczema or lactose intolerance.  Also, we all know that cows produce methane and too many cows is not good for our environment.  Having said that, dairy still represents a very nutritious food group that promotes healthy growth and development in children and youth and has been shown to be an excellent recovery food post exercise to replenish our fuel stores and rebuild muscles.  In this week's Vancouver Sun article, I speak about some of the benefits of dairy.  Most things in life are not all good or all bad and have shades of gray. Read full article here.

Vancouver Sun Article: 2016 is the International Year of Pulses.

SUNRUN TRAINING WEEK 10: Are beans, chickpeas and lentils a superfood?

muffinsIn this week's Vancouver Sun article, I highlight the health benefits of pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils) which may be considered a superfood. The United Nations declared 2016 the Year of the Pulses to promote sustainable food production amidst environmental concerns like water, land and carbon waste. I share a delicious post run recovery muffin recipe from, read the full article here.


Vancouver Sun article: Tips to Avoid the Discomforts of Running

SunRun Training Week 9: Guidelines for a Happy Gut while Running

Discomforts of running include aches and pains of stitch and bathroom stops.In this week's Vancouver Sun article, I give readers tips to ensure a happy gut while running. SunRun training now well underway, you may have experienced the aches and pains of a stitch or the discomforts of having to make an urgent bathroom stop along your jog. These can be avoided by having the right foods at the right time and avoiding certain foods and drinks before your run.

The guidelines in this article should keep you running at your best. If you are prone to urgent bathroom stops, avoid your triggers and eat only low-fibre, low-fat and low-sugar foods before a run. Avoid caffeine, high-sugar products (soda and sport gels) and high-fibre foods (green vegetables, beans, bran, berries) beginning five hours before a run.  

If you are running longer distances and taking sport gels during your runs, talk to a sport dietitian for more specific advice on how to avoid stomach cramps.  

Click here to read the full Vancouver Sun article


Vancouver Sun article: Does the Paleo Diet Really Work?

SunRun Training Week 8: A Critical Look at the Paleo Diet

healthy-chick-peasMy article in Monday's Vancouver Sun is all about the Paleo diet. As diets go, it is effective and is relatively healthy but drops the ball by excluding some key foods. The Paleo diet result in faster weight loss than other diets, but a lot of the lost weight is muscle loss.

When diets cut out carbs, our bodies start to break down our own muscles for fuel. Healthy carbs like fruits, legumes, whole grains and dairy are great recovery foods after exercise.

Click here to read the rest of this week's article.




Cristina featured in two articles in today's Vancouver Sun!

Five Foods to Cut Cravings

In addition to this week's Vancouver Sun Run article, I've been featured in a full page article in today's paper. Check out today`s Vancouver Sun for tips on what foods to avoid to cut cravings and shed pounds.

Here's a teaser:

"What do you look for in a nutrition facts label?

"So you’ve increased your running time, you’re feeling great, with more energy, but those few extra pounds you’d hoped would melt away are sticking around. The reason may be diet.

"But it can be difficult to stick to a healthy diet plan when all day you are dreaming of doughnuts..."

Click here to keep reading!

Vancouver Sun article: What does the nutrition facts label tell you?

Sun Run Training Week 7: The Truth Behind Nutrition Labels

nutrition labelThis week in the Vancouver Sun, I write about how food labels can tell you what foods are really candy in disguise. For example, did you know that Multigrain Cheerios has more sugar and less fibre than regular Cheerios? Read this article to find out which granola bars are no better than a Snickers chocolate bar!

Here's a teaser:

"What do you look for in a nutrition facts label?

"Between the fat, calories, sodium, sugar, fibre, and the long list of ingredients, one can get easily confused. Sometimes too much information makes us lose sight of the basics. Wholesome snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods are always better than packaged, processed foods..."

Click here to keep reading!

Vancouver Sun article: Pre- and Post-Run Snacks

Sun Run Training Week 6: Pre- and Post-Run Snacks

bananasThis week's nutrition article for the Vancouver Sun Run focuses on the pre- and post-run snack - what to eat, when to eat it, and why!

Here's a teaser of the article - click the link below to read more!

“What should I eat before a run?”

“Is it bad to eat after a run in the evening?”

"These are the questions we ask when our training starts to boost our appetite. It’s important to fuel your exercise both before and after. However, what and when to eat can be tricky...."

Click here to keep reading!

Vancouver Sun article: How much sugar are you drinking?

Sun Run Training Week 5: How much sugar are you drinking?


In this week's nutrition article for the Vancouver Sun Run, I examine the (increasingly large) place of sugar in our diets!

Here's a teaser of the article - click the link below to read more!

"Whether you sip on a morning mocha, a smoothie, or you beat the afternoon lull with a soft drink or ice tea, many common beverages have 1/4 cup of sugar per serving. Research is clear that diets high in sugar raise our risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease."

"What about a “nutrient-enhanced water beverage,” or bubble tea, or coconut water? They are all sugar water. But surely, the freshly made juices packed with all that antioxidant goodness must be good for us? Well, it takes a lot of carrots to make one glass of carrot juice. Try it: Your compost pile will fill up and your body will miss all the roughage that helps digestion and makes your stomach feel full...

Click here to keep reading!

Vancouver Sun article: Restaurants uncovered!

Sun Run Training Week 4: The Do's and Don't's of Restaurant Ordering


In this week's nutrition article for the Vancouver Sun Run, I tackle one of the hardest challenges to diets in existence: the calorie-packed restaurant meal.

Here's a teaser of the article - click the link below to read more!

"We all know that restaurant meals are loaded with big portions and too much fat, but do you really know what’s in your takeout meals?

"Whether you go to a coffee shop for your daily coffee and banana bread, grab a panini for lunch or order Thai for takeout, you will most certainly blow any attempts at losing weight. If you enjoy an active social life and go out for dinner and drinks regularly, or if you travel for work and must eat at hotels and restaurants often, you may have noticed an expanding waistline..."

Click here to keep reading!

Vancouver Sun article: What you should know about carbs, glycemic index and gluten

Sun Run Training Week 3: A closer look at gluten


In this week's article in the Vancouver Sun, I explain the current trends in nutrition about gluten and gluten-free diets. The main message: unless you have celiac disease or diagnosed gluten sensitivity, don't be afraid of gluten!

Here's a taste of the new article:

"Never before has there been so much confusion and controversy about gluten, flour and carbs. We see so many foods labelled “gluten free” that it’s made us question whether this thing called “gluten” is something we should all be avoiding? Allow me to clarify..."

Click here to read more on the Vancouver Sun's website.


Doctors Warn Against the IgG Food Sensitivity Test

Doctors Warn Against the IgG Food Sensitivity Test

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about food sensitivities in today's culture of what-to-eat and what-not-to-eat.  Whether you suffer from migraines, infertility, weight or digestive issues, you may look to your diet for answers.  The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology is warning against the ELISA IgG food sensitivity blood test that is promoted by many alternative practitioners as a cure all.  The scientific community has proven that IgG antibodies are unrelated to food intolerance or allergy symptoms.  In fact, studies have shown that IgG antibodies indicate quite the opposite: that a person has been exposed to a food. 
nurse blood FACT #1: IgG Antibodies Mean Your Body is Used to a Food

An excellent study published in the Allergy journal, demonstrated this many years ago by showing that people who worked in a bakery had high IgG levels for wheat and do not actually suffer from wheat sensitivity.  The IgG test could not identify the individuals who actually suffered from wheat sensitivity.  Interestingly, in this study the researchers also noticed that half the study participants also had high IgG antibodies to animals, but none of them were allergic to animals.  The researchers explained that if you own a pet, you will likely have high IgG antibodies to animals, because you are used to your pet, not because you are allergic to it. 

FACT#2: Sometimes the IgG Tests Guess it Right, by Chance

One  study that is often quoted by supporters of the IgG test, gave an IgG food elimination diet to patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which resulted in up to 26% improvement in symptoms.  However, this study was flawed because they eliminated dairy and wheat in the IgG test diet, which are well known triggers for people suffering from IBS.  The IgG test identified dairy and wheat because they are common foods that everyone has been exposed to.  In this way, when the IgG test identifies these two known IBS trigger foods, it can identify food sensitivities correctly by chance.  Keep in mind, that the low FODMAP diet, the recommended diet for people with IBS, effectively reduces symptoms in 75% of people with IBS.

FACT #3:  IgG Food Elimination Diets are Unnecessary and Unhealthy

Most IgG elimination diets would have you remove key staples from your diet like wheat, dairy, egg and certain fruits and vegetables.   This makes it difficult to get enough food and nutrients and difficult to follow such a restrictive diet.   This is a particular concern for growing children.

FACT #4:  There is Only One Way to Identify Food Sensitivities

Doctors, allergists and immunologists do recognize that food sensitivities do exist; however, they explain that there is no medical test that can identify food sensitivities.   Allergists remind us that the only way to identify and diagnose a food sensitivity is through the long and difficult process of a food elimination and challenge diet.  In a nutshell, this involves cutting out all suspected foods for several weeks until symptoms improve, followed by a phase of reintroducing each new food one-at-a-time to look for symptoms to come back.  Only in this way, under the guidance of an experienced health professional can a person correctly identify their food sensitivities.  Perhaps it is this daunting task that has opened the market up to a quick fix. 

It can be extremely frustrating to find answers to complex food sensitivities.   A thorough food and symptom journal and careful elimination of suspected foods under the guidance of an experienced registered dietitian, can be the beginning of the journey to feeling better.

Latest News

  • Cristina is Moving to the North Shore

    Cristina Sutter will be moving to Vitae Health and Sport in North Vancouver as of October 17, 2019.  Her rates, hours and and services will remain the same. After 6 rewarding years at Optimal Performance Clinic in downtown Vancouver, she is looking forward to continuing to support the community in their health and fitness goals from her new location on the North Shore.vitae map2

Book an Appointment with Cristina today


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